When I was younger, people would always ask, “Who’s your favorite Disney princess?” to which I would reply, “Mulan.” People would get really surprised and say they expected me to say Jasmine. Eventually, it got into my head that I SHOULD pick Jasmine. As if not picking her was an insult to my race or something. So for all of elementary school I would lie and say Jasmine was my favorite princess. Everyone would say I looked just like her and I can’t lie, I loved hearing it.
Towards the end of middle school, people would make comments like, “She’s only your favorite because she’s Indian.” or “Is that because you kind of look like her?” I started to get annoyed so I switched back to my real answer. And as a quick side note, Jasmine is Arabian from a fictional place somewhere in the Middle East not Indian. A lot of my friends from high school are Vietnamese and Chinese. For most of them, their favorite Disney Princess was Mulan and they would get very similar comments as me when I said Jasmine was my favorite.
In my senior year of high school, we saw a video about how most children subconsciously think that white people are more physically attractive. Which lead me to think, maybe when someone Asian says Mulan is their favorite and when someone South Asian says their favorite is Jasmine, it could be because they look like them. And what’s wrong with that? Honestly almost all the Disney princesses are white and are always considered beautiful. Fair skin, hair gold like the sun with lips red as the rose. Even in Disney’s newest hit Frozen, Anna says she was a “beautiful stranger, tall and fair.”
I realized this affected my mentality of beauty a lot when I was younger. I love Disney movies and still have Disney marathons from time to time. But when I was young and I wrote stories I would always name the main character after me but give her “creamy, peach skin” and “golden blond hair” with “cherry lips.” I swear. It was that same description every time. It only began to change when people would tell me I looked like Jasmine. For the first time I felt like I was pretty because I did look like a Disney princess. Jasmine was pretty, so I must be pretty too. It is nice to look up to someone that you actually look like. It makes you feel confident about your appearance and proud of the way you look.
Just food for thought.